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History of the First Universalist Church in Somerville, Mass. Illustrated; a souvenir of the fiftieth anniversary celebrated February 15-21, 1904 11 5 Browse Search
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Preface Since about the middle of the last century, Universalism has been preached in Somerville. It was early in the fifties that the first seeds of our faith were sown in this city, the Rev. George H. Emerson, for many years the editor of the Christian Leader, being the preacher. There can be no doubt but that from the first the seed fell upon good ground, for in February, 1854, a legal parish was organized and the work and worship firmly established. To the charter members of the parish those may have seemed days of small things, but from humble beginnings the faithful have pressed on until there are now three Universalist churches in Somerville, ministering to nearly a thousand families. In view of this honorable history, it seemed that this semi-centennial year should not be allowed to pass without recognition. Accordingly, during the week of February 15, 1904, appropriate anniversary exercises were held in our church and Social Hall. At the annual parish meeting t
ong way off, and the idea of having a church home in their immediate vicinity, we can readily believe, was highly gratifying and thoroughly appreciated. When on April 10 a meeting was held, there had been added to the list of members the names of John Thorning, Augustus Hitchings, Henry Locke, Seward Dodge, Robert Hollingsworth, Eben S. Harmon, and Joseph Elliot. It was at this meeting,—less than two months from the date of the organization of the parish,—that it was voted That the Rev. George H. Emerson be and hereby is invited to the pastoral charge of the First Universalist Society of Somerville, to take effect the first day of May, 1854. There is nothing in the records of the parish to show that Mr. Emerson accepted the call, but we know that he became the pastor of the young society, and that he ministered unto it until 1859. In May of the year 1854, the committee appointed to solicit subscriptions for the building of a suitable church reported that $1,000 had been subscri
Rev. George H. Emerson, D. D. George Homer Emerson, D. D., was born in Roxbury, Mass., September 3, 1822, and died in Salem, Mass., March 24, 1898. His early educational advantages in the schools were limited, but he was a quick and accurate obGeorge Homer Emerson, D. D., was born in Roxbury, Mass., September 3, 1822, and died in Salem, Mass., March 24, 1898. His early educational advantages in the schools were limited, but he was a quick and accurate observer of human nature, and marked out for himself a line of study of books that resulted in his becoming one of the best-informed men of his time. The religious atmosphere of the home of his childhood was permeated with the most rigid Baptist ideaD., in editing the Trumpet and Christian Freeman. The name of the paper was changed to the Universalist in 1864, and Dr. Emerson was sole editor until 1867, when he moved to New York, where he edited the Christian Leader until 1872. At the sameities, St. Lawrence University conferred on him the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1871. The denomination met with an irreparable loss when Dr. Emerson passed away, in his seventy-sixth year.—In part from the Universalist Register, 1899
Rev. L. M. Powers Rev. L. M. Powers, who was the successful pastor of the church from 1892 to 1898, was born in Bethel, Me., March 21, 1864. He was educated in the schools of his native town, and, at the age of fourteen, he decided to enter college. He attended Gould's Academy at Bethel, and after graduating, he entered the Wesleyan Academy at Kent's Hill, Me., with the idea of becoming a Methodist minister. He read the works of Channing and Emerson, and became deeply interested. Early in life he heard Rev. Henry Blanchard preach, and the sermon proved to be the turning point in Mr. Powers' career. He decided to become a member of the Universalist Church and a preacher of its doctrines. He entered Tufts Theological School and took the regular two-years' course, devoting his time to hard study. Lacking the necessary funds to complete his education, he taught school for the purpose of securing money, and a year later obtained a position as city editor of the Atlantic City
l members cannot be obtained; two years later, however, in 1856, we find a list in which are the following names:— Mrs. N. T. Munroe, Mrs. Daniel Pratt. Mrs. Sewall Dodge, Mrs. Nathaniel Daniels, Mrs. John Mandell, Mrs. George Rogers, Mrs. E. Harmon, Mrs. Jennings, Mrs. James Runey, Miss Georgiana Williams, Miss Harriet Fitz, Mrs. W. Gage, Mrs. Giles, Mrs. H. Bradshaw, Mrs. H. Cutter, Mrs. Seth Stevens, Mrs. Childs, Mrs. George S. Fogg, Miss Martha Hadley, Mrs. George W. Ireland, Mrs. George H. Emerson. Miss A. Horton, Mrs. E. E. Cole, Mrs. Fitch Cutter. Mrs. Charles Munroe, Mrs. Charles Williams, Mrs. Abel Fitz, Mrs. Aaron Sargent, Mrs. Charles Tufts, Miss Mary Giles, Mrs. Edwin Daniels, Mrs. E. A. Bacon, Mrs. A. Waters, Mrs. Frank Russell. The society started with forty-one members. The first president was Mrs. Nancy T. Munroe, for many years the editor, in connection with Mrs. E. A. Bacon, of the Ladies' Repository, since merged into the Christian Leader. The first treasur